This dissertation examines how diversity is constructed in college recruiting, with a focus on how discourses, language and images regarding diversity influence the college choice process for students and impact the goal to increase diversity in sustainable ways. Use of Critical Discourse Analysis highlights how recruiters' interpretations of diversity are practiced and aligned with those represented in institutional language and messaging in college admissions. Methods include an analysis of college viewbooks and recruiting events and exploring how recruiters understand and give meaning to "diversity" in their engagement with students. Admissions and college recruitment are important sites of study because the leaders and practitioners in these units develop and implement practices and policies that enact certain meanings about diversity in higher education. This research demonstrates how distinct representations of diversity support or reject particular diversity and identity characteristics, which affect recruiting and influence the college choice process. This study also illustrates why the shaping and positioning of diversity from individual and institutional levels matter in supporting accessible, equitable and culturally responsive programming for prospective college students.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Rebecca Ropers-Huilman. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 250 pages.
Shifting the Lens: A Critical Examination of Diversity Discourses in College Recruiting.
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